Monday, April 27, 2015

Our message to students in Oxford (and elsewhere)

 Here is the reply of our candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, Mike Foster, to an invitation to comment on Oxford University Student Union General Election Manifesto.

The Socialist Party isn’t standing in this election to support particular reforms or changes to the current system. This is because we believe that the way our society is put together can’t be made to work in the interests of the vast majority of people. MPs who start out with good intentions about reforms and representing their constituents soon get stifled by cumbersome bureaucracy and made to follow vested interests or the dictates of the elite. So, we’re standing in this election to make the point that the whole system which we live under has to be replaced.

Free Education. Postgraduate funding

Economic forces have always shaped universities, but the last twenty years have seen an increasing marketisation of higher education. The cost of paying tuition fees and student loans prevents many people from going to university, while those who do become students end up thousands of pounds in debt. The state can no longer afford to subsidise education as much as before, so there is limited scope for any increases to funding. Parties campaigning for change within the system have to ensure that any reforms fit in with what the economy allows.

The Socialist Party argues that the system itself doesn’t work in the interests of the vast majority of us. This is because society’s infrastructure is owned and managed by an elite. So, we have to buy what we need and want from them, and what we get depends on how much money we have. As long as education is something to be bought and sold, it can’t be as fulfilling as it should be. If society was owned and run by the community as a whole, then we could have free access to the kinds of education we want.

Immigration and international students, European Union

Whether or not the UK has the closer economic ties to Europe which comes with EU membership, we’re still all operating in the same economic market. So it doesn’t really matter whether our rules are decided within the UK or in Brussels. Wherever they’re decided, laws and trade deals will aim to protect the interests of states and corporations. Neither the EU nor the UK government represents the vast majority of us 

The Socialist Party aims for a world without national borders. Countries, as the boundaries of different states, represent the ruling class who own the land and resources there. This way of dividing up the world doesn’t benefit the vast majority of us, who have very little influence in how the country we happen to live in is run. In a socialist society, people could move freely anywhere, without being dictated to by economic and political pressures. The artificial divisions between us which come with our nationality would no longer apply. If the world was owned in common, then we would live and work co-operatively for the benefit of everyone.

Unpaid Internships. Youth Unemployment

The Socialist Party advocates zero employment! Employment is inherently exploitative. We sell our time and energy to an employer in return for money to buy what we need. But, the amount we collectively receive in wages is less than the value of the work we contribute. This is because the employer needs to make a surplus or a profit, and this wealth stays with them. As well as financially exploiting us, this arrangement means we often feel powerless in an unfulfilling job. Unpaid internships are particularly exploitative, and take advantage of people keen for work experience.

Unemployment usually means having to struggle to buy necessities on a low income. Recent restrictions on who qualifies for sickness benefits, housing benefit and jobseekers allowance have made life harder for some of the most vulnerable people. Benefit claimants face both a lack of opportunities to progress and being stigmatised by some sections of the media.

The Socialist Party aims for a world where all work is voluntary and co-operative, without employers or employed. We would have the freedom to train and work in whichever career we wanted. If society’s infrastructure was owned in common, rather than by a minority, we could run it to benefit everyone. We could work sustainably with all the resources we need, without the market system holding us back. The reasons for the stress and frustration of being employed – and unemployed – won’t exist.

NHS

In our current society, the NHS is limited by what funding it can attract. Regardless of whether this funding comes from the state or from private companies, the NHS still has to survive in the same economic market as any other business. Keeping costs low is one way to remain financially viable, so the health service will always tend to be under-staffed and under-resourced. This explains recent problems with the capacity of Accident & Emergency departments and mental health services.
Wage-slave abolitionist, Mike Foster, explains socialism

The Socialist Party aims for a comprehensive health service which has all the trained staff and resources it needs. The only way this could happen is if it was part of a society where all resources are owned and democratically run by the community as a whole. Then, we could work directly to benefit ourselves and others. This health service, along with all other services and goods, would be free for anyone to access.

Sex Relationship Education

The Socialist Party doesn’t have policies on particular issues like Sex and Relationship Education. In a socialist society, such decisions would be made democratically by students, educational establishments and anyone else with an interest, and not by political parties. Personally, I think that the sex and relationship education should emphasise issues like consent, health, respect, and the needs of disabled and LGBTQ people.


Meanwhile, in the Easington constituency, candidate Steve Colborn pointed out to one critic:

“To categorise myself as "far left", is I'm afraid, merely another one of the false assertions put forward by those who claim a knowledge they, in actuality, do not possess.

The Socialist Party does not support capitalism, in any way, shape or form. Whether as reformist supporters of capitalism, Labour, SWP. Militant, CPGB or any of the other reformist variations.
Nor do we/did we consider the so-called Socialist/Communist revolutions in the USSR, China, Cuba et al, as was clearly stated by us, at the exact times these events occurred, to be anything other than revolutions "to" capitalism, not away from it!

The political parties mentioned and others, the countries mentioned and others, all support systems which are based on commodity production for profit. They support "elites". A world where we have "classes, i.e. rich and poor, capitalists and workers. A world divided into nation states. The Socialist Party, neither support these ideas, nor advocate them.

Our total focus is to replace capitalism, not push the futile attempts to reform it. Just over 100 years of Labour Party history, is proof positive of the futility of this position and an inability to see this, is the profoundest case of burying ones head in the sand, ever seen.”

Steve Colborn


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